A Hout Bay surfer is determined to protect the ocean by teaching and preparing the next generation to care for it.
Frank Solomon coaches children at the Hout Bay Lifesaving Club, and, in 2017, he founded the Sentinel Ocean Alliance, a non-profit company that creates ocean-based opportunities for the underprivileged youth of Hout Bay.
Now Mr Solomon is working with Parley for the Oceans, an organisation tackling environmental threats to the oceans, to form the Parley Ocean School, which will teach children about the environment and expose them to marine conservation.
“Parley Ocean School youth programmes simplify complex marine threats through engaging materials developed with a global network of educators,” Mr Solomon said.
“Parley is committed to inspire, educate and empower the next generation of ocean guardians.”
The new school will be based inside a shipping container at the Hout Bay Beach.
The ideal situation for Mr Solomon would be to see a child joining the Sentinel Ocean Alliance as a nipper, where they will learn to swim before moving onto the Waves For Change programme, learning to surf and gaining confidence in the ocean.
“They could become lifeguards and get a job as a lifeguard anywhere in the world. At Waves for Change, they can become a surf instructor,” Mr Solomon said.
The same person could then go on to get classes at the Parley Ocean School to learn further about the ocean and the environment.
“This whole programme is all about that kid,“ Mr Solomon said.
Parley for the Oceans defines itself as a new form of an environmental organisation that brings together creators, thinkers and leaders across brands, governments, creative communities and environmental groups to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of the oceans and collaborate on projects that can end their destruction.
Mike Long, the director of operations at Parley for the Oceans, said: “We are grateful for the partnership with Sentinel Ocean Alliance and the strong network of community in Cape Town that will create a true impact with our ocean school.”
Mr Long said the school would give children the skills and gear they needed to care for the oceans.
“These are the future leaders of our planet,” Mr Long said.
Parley Ocean School would form a “critical” part of Hout Bay, he said, adding that there were plans to run the project throughout the country.
Mr Solomon hopes this is a start of a new chapter for Hout Bay.
“If you are not from an ocean environment, you might not know how to access the ocean economy. The biggest hurdle we have found thus far is actually swimming. So the school is firstly teaching every kid to swim, to give them a possible entry into the ocean economy,” he said.
For more information on the Sentinel Ocean Alliance and the newly formed Parley Ocean School, visit https://sentinelalliance.org/